Update for Kitten Fund

Update for Kitten Fund

Dear friends of kittens,

“Time flies when you have kittens” – isn’t that how the saying should actually go? I was away last month, and before I left, littermates Hodor, Arya, and Rickon had only just arrived. Kittens have been flying off the shelves ever since, and all three of those siblings have found their forever home, along with Aidan, Ebony, Tess and the rest of the Philly kittens … and we’ve had several new arrivals, including Smidgen, who has a disability similar to our dear Tashi.

I think the kitten adoptions of the last month are perfectly captured by this true story. A family – father, mother, and two children – arrived at Tabby’s Place one afternoon with the intent to adopt a kitten. At the time, three little ones, Ebony, Aidan, and Rickon, were in residence in the Community Room, and the family was immediately taken with them all. After meeting the cuties, this family quickly amended their original plan – obviously, any kitten needs a friend, so it would make more sense for them to adopt two kittens. But which two? Deep thought ensued, and finally the father of the family pointed out that if they took two, one poor kitten would be left behind, all alone. “Kids,” he asked, “do you think we should get two kittens, or three?” I’m sure you can guess the answer they gave, and Ebony, Aidan, and Rickon are happy at home with their new family now.

In addition to newbie Smidgen, we’ve had a couple of new litters in residence this month. The soup litter – Chowder, Gazpacho, Borscht, and little sis Miso – were confined to ringworm quarantine after they arrived from the prison where they were picked up as part of Tabby’s Place’s TNR program. Even with patchy bald spots, though, these darlings are beautiful little cats, and Chowder found his family even before he’d cleared from quarantine. His three siblings are charming the you-know-what out of everyone who sets foot in the Community Room, and I’m confident in predicting that they’ll be off to their own forever homes soon. Who knows, maybe a family with a cat-loving dad will arrive to take all three!

We also had a very special kitten-related event this month. Juanita, a sweet and very pregnant kitty, arrived at the very beginning of August, and on the fifth of the month, she delivered three little boys – Ignacio, Filiberto, and tiny Ernesto. (In the photo below, you can see Juanita with her little ones moments after giving birth.) In the nearly ten years we’ve been open, Juanita is only the third cat to give birth to her kittens at Tabby’s Place and as time goes on, I’m gladder and gladder that she did.

It’s not just that these little boys are sweethearts – I spent some time with them just the other day, and they’re the cutest little things. It’s not just that Juanita is a fabulous mother – when Ernesto cried at being taken from his mama for some medical attention, she stepped forward, neatly took him from my hands, and carried him back into the family bed. It’s truly heartwarming to see a family that loves and grows together, and to witness their love from day one of familyhood is a rare gift.

I’m especially grateful that Juanita came to us, though, so that we could help her care for her babies. Filiberto, who is black and white, is the big boy of the litter, and he’s already gained several ounces. Ignacio, a tabby, we watched a bit more closely so that we could give him some extra nutritional support. He’s grown stronger over the last several days, and as of this writing he seems to have gotten over the hump.

Little all-black Ernesto is having a harder time of it, though. One of his eyes opened the day after he was born, weeks too early, and he’s needed lubricant squeezed into that eye four times a day to minimize any damage that might result. More worrisome is that he’s not gaining weight, in spite of his mama’s attentions and regular tube feedings. I stopped by to check in on the little ones, and more than a week after being born, baby Ernesto is still struggling just to get back to his birth weight. He’s so tiny, and so fragile.

It’s heartbreaking. I don’t know how Ernesto is going to fare in the days to come, but I do know that he is in the very best place he could be. We’ve been through this before, haven’t we? I still miss feisty little Florence terribly, and I don’t want us to have to say a sad goodbye to another little one we already love so much. But I know that Ernesto is getting absolutely the best possible care, both from his loving mother and from the wonderful staff at Tabby’s Place. And I also know that each of you is sending love and prayers and positive thoughts his way. If only that were all that were needed, Ernesto would be home free.

Thank you so much, dear sponsors, for sharing all the joys and burdens of caring for the littlest Tabby’s Place cats. Your support makes all the difference in the world to these kittens, and I am so very grateful for your generosity.